Sound Off: Should We Keep the GI Bill’s Housing Allowance for Children of Veterans?

housing allowance

On April 14th, IAVA and several Democratic lawmakers held a rally on Capitol Hill to protest a House bill that proposes a major adjustment to the post-9/11 GI Bill.  The change, which the Congressional Research Service estimated would save about $775 million over the next decade, would cut in half the monthly housing allowance granted to children of veterans attending college on the parent’s GI Bill.

Supporters of the bill say the change would fund the following additions to the current bill: improvements to postnatal care for female veterans, expanded K-9 therapy for veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, the reauthorization of the VA work-study program, removal of the cap on VA home loan guarantees.

IAVA supports the new programs but insists that we shouldn’t cut another benefit to fund them. “Find the money somewhere else,” said IAVA founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “If you asked the American public to hold a bake sale to fund [the new programs] they would do it, but don’t hide it in the omnibus and try to skirt that responsibility.”

The Pentagon only recently decided to offer veterans the opportunity to transfer their GI Bill benefits to their children as a way to encourage reenlistment. The new bill proposes to cut the benefit in half for military kids attending college on their parents’ GI Bill.

This is a complicated one. Did we make a promise to veterans who based their decision to reenlist at least in part as a way to pay for their child’s education? Should America stick to that deal? Or, since this benefit doesn’t directly serve men and women who actually served, is it okay to reassign those funds to programs that do?

What do you think? Sound off!